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New legislation would enforce sleep apnea rule

Truckers in West Virginia and the rest of the nation may soon be subject to new criteria regarding sleep apnea tests. Even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stated that it would withdraw a rule related to the updated screening criteria and treatment regulations for obstructive sleep apnea, Democratic members of the House and Senate have taken action to compel the agency to resurrect work on the rule.

Congress Democrats are mandating that federal trucking regulators establish a rule that would detail the criteria that would be used by medical examiners to refer truck operators to be tested for sleep apnea. The FMCSA had worked on the rule in 2016. Its work included taking recommendations from its Medical Advisory Board as well as issuing a pre-rule notice and holding public meetings to obtain opinions from stakeholders of the trucking industry.

The rule would provide unambiguous direction to carrier employers, drivers and medical examiners about what type of criteria would result in a driver being required to undergo an in-lab apnea test. It would also provide clear guidance about proper treatment procedures.

The existing policy has medical examiners using any number of various sets of screening procedures to determine whether a referral for a sleep apnea test should be made. The policy has resulted in confusion across the industry. There are many cases in which drivers charge that their referrals have been unnecessary. The sleep apnea testing firms, medical professionals and treatment device manufacturers are viewed with suspicion and the belief that they are taking advantage of the confusing regulation to make money.

An individual who sustains injuries in a truck crash caused by the negligence of someone else may have legal recourse. A personal injury attorney may pursue financial damages against a negligent truck driver or trucking company.

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